Friends.  I could go on about this subject forever.  Suffice it to say that we all understand the importance true friends play in our lives.  How invaluable they are.  How life without them would be troublesome, lonely, and dauntingly gray.  One great big giant suck fest, to be sure.

Today I was dually reminded how lucky I am on this front.  Chels.  She is my life-long best girlfriend in this whole wide world.  Met her in 5th grade.  Hated her.  She attended a rival elementary school and rival we did on the softball field.  Fast-forward 30 years and we have a closeness that can only be described as understood and impenetrable.  We haven’t lived together or just down the street from one another in a very long time, yet we both conclusively know no one else (barring the husband role) is filling the other’s shoes.  Ever.

Long periods of time can pass when we don’t speak.  Life gets busy and we just live our respective ones.  Yet we can call each other out of the blue and are right there in the thick of current events.  (No, not “world” events…she’s not like that.  I cheat on her for those kind of conversations without fear of dissolution).  Inexplicably, there is no catch-up required.  We just kind of know.  She and I have finished each other’s thoughts and sentences for as long as I can remember.  Interrupting is a form of love with us, not disrespect.  It’s uncanny really.  People hear us communicate and are in awe.  I trust her with my life; she has free rein and never hesitates to use it unabashedly.  She sets me straight when I am crooked and I love her the more for it.  Much of this, I’m sure, can be attributed to our history. 

The woman has seen me at my best, my worst, and everything in between.  She’s seen me laugh (lots of laughing!), cry tears of both joy and pain, talk my way out of things that you can’t make up…live this eye of the hurricane sort of existence.  She showed me how to do certain things (wow, I guess she was worldly at one point), use certain things, get through certain things.  When Olivia was born, she was the first face I saw in the hospital room other than the usual participants.  She was the first friend I called when I was sick and the first one to cry along with me as she yelled that I better not check out because she’d kick my ass if I did.  I could go on as originally mentioned, but I won’t.  The rest is sacred and something I treasure.  Our friendship is timeless.  Immeasurable.  Solid.

We spoke today.  It’s been awhile.  Her voice, as usual, was a soothing balm to everything in me that is in need of a little tune-up.  It was not a long conversation, but it didn’t need to be.  We ended with the usual, “Love you!” and back to our respective lives we went, a little warmer, a little fuzzier, a little more thankful to be in this world.

And so it is that I find myself grateful for friendships that are equally as sweet, if not (yet) as long.  People pop in and out of our lives all the time.  This we know.  What causes us to pause is the ones we don’t see coming.  The ones we want to stick.  The ones we know we’d miss if they disappeared.  The ones we size up against the backdrop of a life-long friend and find that, indescribable as it may be, the same level of understanding and immeasurability is present.  Somehow, we experience the same smiling when they call, and the resultant warmth as we listen to the now familiar voice with its soothing melody and perfect mix of care, frankness, and funny.  How rare.  How special.

As said friend uttered to me today:  this is a beautiful world.

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